Expat Life: We are moving!

The news we’ve been waiting for…

We are moving. 

For starters I’ll give you some hints:

  1. 50,000 shades of grey and there’s nothing sexy about that
  2. I’ve always said I wanted to live near the ocean (so be careful what you wish for)
  3. I never expected to live more north than I did in Edmonton. 57° N to be exact

So if you read my last post about this impending move, it has finally happened.  We are moving to City C. 

And in the past few days in spreading the word to our friends, I’ve used this emoji  A LOT.

See original imageSee original imageSee original imageSee original imageSee original imageSee original image

It’s a city we had no desire to move to.  Even David had it listed on his work profile as a place we DID NOT want to go…along with Russia, Nigeria and Angola.  Luckily it’s not as bad as either of those.

It’s a city where David’s sister lived for a few years… and we never went to visit.  Karma is a bitch I suppose.

It’s a city by the ocean but we won’t be doing much swimming or sun tanning.  The average summer temperature is a chilly 20C.

It’s a city that is known as the Granite City or Silver City.  To me that just reads: 50 million shades of grey.  Grey buildings, grey skies, grey everything.   If 50 million shades of grey exists, it exists there.


We are moving to Aberdeen, Scotland.

For those you are in the oil industry, you may know exactly where that is.  It is the oil capital of Europe and on the shores of the North Sea.

For those who don’t know about it, you hear Scotland and immediately think of green pastures and ancient castles.  Yes that is one of the few things we are looking forward to exploring.  There are the cool, hip cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Then there’s the armpit, Aberdeen.

So perhaps I’m being harsh.  And you have to understand where we are coming from.  When we left Canada for this expat life, we envisioned exotic locations: far-away places, completely foreign (to us) cultures, languages and challenges.

Paris to Aberdeen

Of course I could never complain about moving to Paris.  At times it was exotic enough with its own unique challenges.  But when we knew a move was on the horizon, we thought: now this will be the great test.  Can we survive and perhaps thrive in a place like Saudia Arabia, Myanmar, or Kuala Lampur?   We have almost exhausted travel in Europe and were looking forward to moving to the Middle East or Asia, where we could travel and discover new countries.

Well, we’ll still be in Europe (well, maybe not after Brexit).  A most unexciting part of it.  It’ll be familiar. The language is the same.  The weather uninspiring.

But let’s be realistic, I could complain about any city after living in Paris.

I’m forced happy to consider the positives of this move:

  • We’ll be close enough to Paris to visit our friends and close to the rest of Europe. That’ll be handy when we need doses of sunshine and heat
  • Still close enough to home in Canada.  And Bonus:  we will see my parents in Portugal this summer
  • I can try finding a job, start a business or go back to school.  I have a lot more opportunities there then I would in Saudia Arabia, Myanmar, or Kuala Lampur.
  • We will have a car.  So weekend trips to the breathtaking Scottish countryside is how we’ll spend our time
  • Since I don’t have another language to learn, I can keep up with my French
  • It’s modern city with all the amenities we would ever need including a Costco!  A Costco!  I can’t wait.  (and I’m not exaggerating… but you see, if the one real excitement is a Costco, then something isn’t quite right)
  • And we will be by the ocean.  That means bonfires on the beach and watching the waves lap the shores.  Even if I’m in a parka and winter boots, at least I’m by the sea.


(By the way, this picture from Wikipedia must be incredibly enhanced… I’ll believe it when I see it.)

So there you have it.  The news we’ve been waiting for.  From Canada, then to Paris and on to Aberdeen… it’s a wild adventure nonetheless and we’ll make the most of it.

I’ll show you how great Aberdeen and Scotland are.  And maybe it’ll even surprise us.  We moved to Edmonton with really low expectations.  It’s nickname is DEAD-monton.  And in the end, we loved and enjoyed our life there, made incredible friends and have cherished memories.

So I’m sure the same will be true in Aberdeen.


For now, the countdown is on… we have two weeks left in our beloved Paris.

And stay tuned for more posts to come on the feelings about moving, how we are preparing and also some great posts about Paris that I still want to share.

(all photos from Wikipedia)

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  • paula hunter

    Well, at least you are not stuck in the middle of nowhere and it should be easy to surpass your low expectations. I hope the move goes smoothly and that you find a lovely place to live.

    • Thank you very much Paula 🙂 Yes being stuck in the middle of nowhere would likely get old fast.

    • The move has gone smoothly and all is well. It’s not the middle of nowhere but sometimes it does feel like it. I just have to get into a new routine and find a permanent place to live… then it will feel like home. Thank you 🙂

  • Good luck with the move. I hope Aberdeen does surprise you. It may not have the heat or cultural differences you were hoping for but it will still be an experience and, like you say, you’ll still be near Europe and be able to explore more of Scotland. Just make sure you stock up on warm clothes and rain jackets!

    • Thank you! I’m sure it will. I’m bet I’ll find it does has enough of its own cultural differences to keep me on my toes! Everyone’s been saying the people there are lovely so it’ll be fine. It’s really the weather I’m not keen about… I don’t mind the cold but sunshine is so important for mental health and well-being. Will have to buy a good umbrella I imagine!

    • Thank you! I think the surrounding area and Scotland will surprise me. From what I’ve explored so far, Aberdeen isn’t void of charm afterall.

  • Ok I have to admit I chuckled a bit when I saw what option C was, I thought for sure it would be Angola or somewhere like that! My dad worked in Aberdeen one summer (I can’t escape the oil and gas industry clearly) and we spent a week with him there. It was pretty gray in the city but there were so many pretty places around it with castles and quaint little towns. With a car I’m sure you will see a lot! My sister liked it so much she went on to go to university at St. Andrews.

    • Hehe same with my husband…his dad and sister are all in oil… actually I was too until we moved to Paris 😛
      I can’t wait for road trips with the car. The pictures I’ve seen are absolutely breathtaking.

    • The city is so gray!! I find myself saying that at least 5 times a day. The weather doesn’t help but I’ve been told that it’s been unusually rainy this year… we’ll see what the winter and next few seasons brings. Can’t wait to have a car and explore the surrounding areas on weekend trips.

  • oh don’t be so harsh! I saw lots of beautiful photos of Aberdeen on my friend’s fb when her family moved there! and sunny weather:))

    • Yes I Know it was harsh but we are excited for the new adventure. I’ve since done some more research (thanks to Instagram!) and yes, it’s not as bad as I imagine 😀 Have to find the beauty and advantages in everything.

    • Yes it has been partly sunny but not without a few bouts of rain each day! I’ve been carrying my sunglasses and umbrella regularly 🙂

  • Mar

    Exciting! My husband has family in Scotland and I’ve always wanted to go visit. On the bright side, at least you’re still in Europe and flights are super cheap if you need a quick getaway.

    • There’s lots to appreciate for sure. You’ll have to come visit but I can say Aberdeen wouldn’t be youths prime destination ????

    • I stocked up on pamphlets of Scotland when I went to the tourism office so I won’t be sure of fun adventures exploring our new country we call home. From what I’ve seen in pictures, it is amazing and warrants a visit. Being in Europe is nice… already planning trips to Portugal to see my family and Paris to see our friends 😛 Thanks for commenting.

  • Oh my gosh, you’re moving to Scotland!! Okay, for myself I’m happy – another Canadian in Scotland! We’ll have to meet up! But I do feel a bit bad for you guys, Aberdeen is definitely not the greatest place to move to in Scotland. In its favour, Aberdeenshire has lots to offer seaside town wise and castle wise and it’s so close to the Cairngorms National Park and the Highlands, which have some of the best views in Scotland. I hope you do find somewhere quaint to live – lots of beautiful nice cottages (like in the photos!).xx

    • Haha I showed my husband the comment and he laughed – yes I don’t think people really know what Aberdeen is like and they think ‘scotland’ and think I’m crazy for not being excited. Although I am getting more excited mostly about the highlands and the areas around Aberdeen! Lol I’m sure the city itself will be just fine. That’d be great to meet up! I’m sure we’ll make a few trips to Edinburgh anyway to explore.

    • Omg… i thought I replied to these and i guess I didn’t! oops! I will be devouring your blog in detail to get ideas for what to do and where to go. Thanks! Would be lovely to meet up but I assume I’ll likely go to Edinburgh sooner than you’ll come up to Aberdeen 😛 We’re still finding our bearings and settling in… I’m sure you know, you can’t do anything without an address so lots on hold until then (Car purchase, bank account, cell phone, etc)

  • Untold Morsels

    Enjoy your last few days in Paris. Scotland will be a wonderful experience albeit a different one. As Camila mentioned the natural beauty is stunning. Looking forward to reading all about your new life there.

    • Thanks Katy! After a few days of wallowing in self pity and sadness (ie a brutal Paris hangover), I’m back on my feet and looking forward to new adventure and exploration. I’m sure it’ll be a good one.

  • Oh… That sounds a bit discouraging… You make me remind of myself after moving to Mar del Plata in Argentina and realising after 2 months that it was not a city, but a village since after such short time I already got to know the whole city and now what? It’s boring!!! I’ve been living here for 7 years now!!!! Incredible, and I still complain about it… and wait impatiently till my next vacation :)))

    I invite you to visit my blog 🙂 Hopefully, you’ll like it!

    • Hi Pati… I was pretty harsh on Aberdeen and it still has to prove me wrong. But there is some advantages and things I look forward to. Moving is hard and I guess I just wasn’t as prepared to leave Paris and accept change as I thought I was. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • It’s funny that you’re remarking what a grey city Aberdeen is because when I think about the iconic European cities we’ve visited and now lived in, Paris stands out to me as the greyest of them all. Admittedly we did visit in February, but it’s something we’ve repeated often. Whereas Rome was red and gold and Dublin is green, Paris to me was varying shades of grey, from the river to the architecture to the sky.

    On another note, I have a friend who settled in Aberdeen for a couple of years and she loved it. I hope you will too.

    • That is interesting! Paris can be overwhelming for visitors… I can see how it can be perceived as grey, it did get a lot of rain this year and the winter is quite drab. But there is no denying the amount of colour in the buildings and the parks. Dublin was definitely green! And great observation about Rome… I agree as well.
      In Aberdeen, from what I’ve noticed so far, is that it is actually, literally grey! lol… all the buildings blend into the sky and the roads… haha. I’m sure I’ll learn to love it… it has it’s charming moments and some pretty spots. Thanks for the comment!

  • I’m a first-time visitor to your blog, and also a Canadian expat, but living in the Middle East. The thought of living in Scotland is oddly enticing to me, especially right now as the temps climb into the high 40’s and the humidity closes in on 90%! I’ve never been to Scotland though, so I have nothing really to base my desires on other than the pictures of green rolling hills and memories of the Diana Gabaldon books I read at some point in the 90’s … Best of luck with the move, and looking forward to reading more about your expat adventures!

    • Hi! Thanks for reading and for the comment. Funnily enough, we thought we’d be moving to the Middle East and were looking forward to it! I’ve never experienced temperature like that but being in 20C temps when it’s the middle of summer is slightly depressing. I love the heat and sun. Everyone here is wearing light jackets and pants… and it’s July!!
      Scotland is beautiful and we intend to explore and share as much of it as we can. So hope you keep following along!